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U.S. Trade Policy Emboldens Putin and Harms the Russian People – Garry Kasparov

11/29/2011

With little positive to tout on the domestic front, the Obama administration has turned to an unlikely place to boast of an economic success story: Russia. The U.S. and Europe have finally succeeded in bullying the tiny Republic of Georgia into allowing Russia to join the World Trade Organization, despite the fact that Russian forces still occupy sovereign Georgian territory in Abkhazia and North Ossetia. President Obama’s Nov. 10 statement congratulated President Dmitry Medvedev on Russia’s imminent WTO accession and, scandalously, referred to Georgia only as one of “Russia’s other WTO trading partners.”

From this, we may understand that today the “free” in “free world” refers only to trade, and not to democracy, respect for borders or human rights. These once-hallowed virtues have been forcibly decoupled from global business as usual. In the Russia of Vladimir Putin, that means business with the same oligarchs who have been looting my country for over a decade. As for democracy, Medvedev’s recent announcement that he would again swap posts with Putin made a mockery of Western illusions about liberalization.  […]

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